June 23, 2023

23.06.2023 – Investigations Against Franz Miklautz Dropped – Victory for Press Freedom and Democracy in Austria

As announced on 22 June, the public prosecutor’s office in Graz, Austria in an agreement with the Ministry of Justice, intervened and instructed the public prosecutor’s office in Klagenfurt, Austria, to discontinue the proceedings against Austrian journalist Franz Miklautz.

Franz Miklautz, a long year investigative journalist, operates the local investigative news site Mediapartizan in the state of Carinthia, Austria, and is author of the independent and critical magazine Falter from Vienna.

Miklautz had become the focus of the public prosecutor’s office in Klagenfurt because of his investigative research into salaries and overtime payments by the local authorities in Klagenfurt, Austria. He was accused of contributing to the violation of official secrecy, and his mobile phone and laptop were seized. The leaked data, obtained from an internal whistleblowers, formed the basis of Miklautz’s report.

On 13 June 2023, the prosecutor in Klagenfurt ordered the confiscation of Miklautz’s mobile phones, laptop, and other internet-capable devices to gather evidence related to the suspected crimes and identify potential accomplices.

Now the criminal investigations against Miklautz have been dropped. Steps made by the public prosecutor’s office in Klagenfurt against the journalist were a serious violations of press freedom.

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